Texas District Court Decision to Pause Funding Intended to Help BIPOC Small Farmers Must Be Challenged

For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Statement from John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority, on the recent ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to halt a federal disaster-aid program intended to support farms owned by people of color and women 

“Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s decision to suspend a program intended to provide disaster relief for small farms owned by people of color is the latest example of extremist efforts to dismantle support systems meant to help BIPOC entrepreneurs. Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling that the program discriminated against white men because it primarily benefited farmers who identify as Black, Native American, Latinx, Asian or Pacific Islander, or who identify as women, is yet another blow to a group of small businesses that has at times struggled to get ahead as a result of deeply entrenched, systemic racism in the United States. This bias is wide-ranging, and it often prevents small businesses and farms founded by people of color from ever getting off the ground – let alone succeeding. A particularly glaring example of this bias can be found in the distribution of other forms of federal aid, including supposedly ‘race-neutral’ support available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). Even though it was never intended to be so lopsided, 97% of CARES Act assistance set aside for farmers went to those who are white. 

The legal argument here is also flawed at best. The idea that white people are victimized by federal programs intended to support BIPOC small businesses may sound rational to some at first glance but in truth makes no attempt to even acknowledge the reality that small, minority-owned farms and businesses have always competed on an uneven playing field. We hope future courts that consider this case and similar lawsuits will do so with an eye toward dismantling the harm caused to BIPOC-owned small businesses by generations of discrimination and supporting the minority entrepreneurs who just want a chance to achieve the kind of success that white men have historically taken for granted in the United States.”

About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority is a national small business organization that empowers America's diverse entrepreneurs to build a thriving and equitable economy. We engage our network of more than 85,000 small businesses and 1,500 business and community organizations to advocate for public policy solutions and deliver resources to entrepreneurs that promote equitable small business growth. Our deep connections with the small business community along with our scientific research enable us to educate the public about key issues impacting America’s entrepreneurs, with a special focus on advancing the smallest businesses and those facing systemic inequalities. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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